Local Pharmacies – Still A Cheaper Alternative?

With the rise of online pharmacies, and concessions inside large supermarkets and chain stores, the option to save money on healthcare may seem like a daunting prospect as we are now overloaded with options. And whilst it is definitely true that times are changing for pharmacies as a whole, there are still a great many people who choose to stick with their local pharmacy for their healthcare needs. There are several reasons why this may not be a wise choice.


Small Means More Costly!

The main reason is that small local pharmacies simply do not have the same buying power as a major supermarket or an online pharmacy. Economies of scale mean the latter can buy 10000 units, massively dropping the price and still making a profit, our local pharmacy can probably only buy a few dozen of the same medication. Local pharmacies also have to factor in rent prices, staffing costs, and every other expenditure associated with a physical retail location. Whilst a prescription for a nationalized healthcare service will be the same anywhere, private or non-prescribed medications will often be four or five times the price for a physical location as they are if we shop online.

Discretion is Key

Many customers shop online for their medication as it affords a greater level of discretion and privacy. We have all been into a local business and seen someone we know working there, and many times, we have often questioned their ability to keep a secret. This is a minor inconvenience at the supermarket, but for a sensitive medical condition, it can mean we scurry past and choose not to shop there. We then have to find somewhere else and pluck up the courage to talk to a staff member (often not even in a private location) about something that can potentially be very embarrassing. Going online takes this problem out of the equation. For many over the counter medications, there is no need to provide any medical history or see a pharmacist. For prescriptions or more complicated medications, online pharmacies will offer the chance to have a video or voice call with a trained healthcare professional, or simply use a chatbox, ensuring total anonymity and less embarrassment.

Less Time is Needed

We can all empathize with the annoyance of having to collect a prescription, walk or drive to our local pharmacy, check whether the item is in stock, and then wait for a pharmacist to dispense it, which can take up to 24 hours in the worst-case scenario. While we may still have to wait for an online pharmacy to dispense medication and post it to us, the wait times are often minimal, with next day delivery being the norm. This means that instead of taking an inordinate amount of time out of our day to pick up our medicine, we can submit the prescription request online, then get on with our day and have the products sat on our doorstep when we get home.

Online pharmacies reward loyalty…does your local pharmacy?

We all know about supermarket loyalty schemes. But how many local pharmacies do the same? In an age where every penny counts, often more so for those suffering from medical ailments, heading further than our local pharmacy means we are given more options for loyalty schemes, volume discounts, and cashback and rebates. In short, online pharmacies help us make our shopping work for us.

Don’t be mistaken. For many, the classic local pharmacy still has its place in their daily lives. Convenience, familiarity, and straight-up loyalty mean that local pharmacies will always serve a function. But they are no longer the ‘be all and end all’ of the pharmacy world.

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